ANTI-fracking campaigners have dismissed Celtique Energie’s decision to remove the horizontal well from its proposals for exploratory drilling at Fernhurst as a ‘ploy’ to get planning permission.
And they have warned they will not stop fighting until ‘fracking’ plans are abandoned.
The plans are due to be decided by the South Downs National Park on July 10.
Two weeks ago Celtique Energie announced it had dropped plans to drill horizontally under land owned by neighbouring residents.
The amended plans came in the wake of action by neighbouring land-owners who formed a legal ‘blockade’ around the potential shale gas site.
They wrote to the company and the energy secretary to formally deny permission for drilling under their homes.
Under current British case law, energy companies need the consent of the owners or tenants before drilling underneath their homes or land, or must obtain a special dispensation from a judge.
Leading Frack Free Fernhurst (FFF) campaigner Martyn Knights told the Observer: ““FFF have noted that Celtique have decided to remove the contingent horizontal borehole from their current planning application.
“This does not mean that Celtique will not frack this site.
“It has always been Celtique’s (and their partners Magellan’s) intention to extract oil or gas from the deep shale beneath this site and the only way to do this would be to use hydraulic fracturing.
“It is our view that this move is merely a ploy to make the current application more palatable to the SDNPA so that once passed further applications would be easier to get through.
“This is the thin end of the wedge which in our view amounts to a cynical manipulation of the planning process.”
For the full story, see this week’s Observer (May 15).